VENGEANCE IS MINE by Reavis Z. Wortham


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1967. Thimble-sized Center Springs, Texas, misses out on the Summer of Love but not, evidently, on one single other incident in this overstuffed shoot’em-up.

Top Parker and his cousin Pepper, both 13, sense that life is passing them by. Pepper especially would love to get out of Center Springs for someplace more exciting. Little does she know that excitement is headed her way. Tony Agrioli, an enforcer for Vegas mobster Malachi Best, abruptly decides to retire to the country when Best orders him to execute not only a rival casino owner, but his whole family. Along with his brand-new pickup, Samantha Chesterfield and a safe they’ve liberated from Best’s home, he makes a beeline for Center Springs because his pal Cody Parker always spoke so highly of it. Tony’s arrival comes as quite a surprise to Cody, now the town’s top lawman (Burrows, 2012, etc.), and an even bigger surprise to Lamar County Sheriff Donald Griffin. The sheriff, who’d double-crossed Best himself in a deal to launder drug money by slipping into the mix some counterfeit currency he’d promised to pass for Best, naturally assumes that Tony has come looking for him, just as Tony assumes that Griffin in turn is gunning for him. In other hands, this mutual misunderstanding might serve as the engine for an extended comedy of crime. But Wortham is so busy investigating the murder of Tommy Lee Stark, keeping tabs on the many lovers of Karen Ann Reidel, and touching base, it seems, with every citizen of Center Springs that the only plot strand that holds his attention is the one that drives every able-bodied cast member with a firearm, including some imports from Kansas City and Dallas, to unload on everyone else.

More wacky characters, complications, scandals and fatalities than a year’s run of your favorite tabloid.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0258-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2014


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